The UK now has more than 100 anaerobic digestion (AD) plants, excluding waste water facilities. This may indicate an annual growth of 30% or so (see page 9), but the country has to make a seismic leap to match Germany’s 7,000.
Calls from the Anaerobic Digestion and Biogas Association (ADBA) for greater Government support for this part of the resource management sector have been reported before by MRW. ADBA was perfectly reasonable in pointing out that an update from the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) to its Renewable Energy Roadmap at the turn of the year did not have a section on AD.
And on Wednesday, DECC’s response to consultation on the Renewable Heat Incentive brought little cheer at ADBA HQ. Indeed, chief executive Charlotte Morton was disappointed that fledgling biogas and biomethane schemes cannot gain preliminary accreditation under the incentive scheme to ensure greater certainty for developers. Sector uncertainty still blights growth opportunities.
Nor can there have been joy unconfined in the AD sector at Defra’s Energy from Waste: a guide to the debate. The report deals almost exclusively with residual waste, but there is a reference to analysis showing “for food waste, wet or dry AD is better than other recycling and recovery options”.
For this to happen efficiently, AD backers argue, there has to be source segregation of waste material. As the current Judicial Review (page 6) shows, Whitehall does not favour such resource management.
Finally on energy from waste, round-the-world sailor Ellen MacArthur takes a pragmatic view of incineration, showing it is important to deal with present challenges as well as advocating shifts in thinking about waste.